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Gov. Brown says some counties will require face coverings in public amid spike in COVID-19 cases

Governor Kate Brown announced Oregon's next steps on Wednesday after a spike in coronavirus cases caused state officials to pump the brakes on reopening.

Posted: Jun 17, 2020 3:07 PM
Updated: Jun 17, 2020 3:20 PM

PORTLAND, Ore. — Governor Kate Brown announced on Wednesday that Oregon's next steps will include a requirement to wear face coverings in public for some counties following a spike in coronavirus cases over the past several weeks.

Brown and officials from the Oregon Health Authority issued a "yellow light" last Friday for several counties that were on the brink of entering a new phase of reopening. The Governor's Wednesday statement indicated that the new plans would include a resolution for some of those counties.

“I instituted the statewide pause because of the rising number of cases in both rural and urban communities," Brown said. "I did this to give public health experts time to assess what factors are driving the spread of the virus and make adjustments to our reopening strategy."

The Oregon Health Authority has spent the intervening days looking at data from around the state, including the source of growth in new cases and hospitalizations, the results of contact tracing, and other metrics. Brown said that she had also been consulting with health experts, business leaders, and local elected officials.

Starting June 24 — the same day that the Oregon legislature returns for a special session — Multnomah, Washington, Clackamas, Hood River, Marion, Polk, and Lincoln counties will require face coverings for people while at indoor public spaces. This includes grocery stores and other businesses.


RELATED: Oregon Supreme Court sides with Gov. Brown on COVID-19 restrictions


Multnomah County will be finally be approved to move into Phase I this Friday.

"While Multnomah County has seen an increase in new cases recently, the county has not experienced an uptrend in new hospital admissions, and overall hospitalizations remain well within capacity," Brown said.

According to Brown's statement, some counties will be grouped together as regional units for future reopening decisions. Multnomah, Washington, and Clackamas counties — which encompass the Portland metro area — will be one such unit. Marion and Polk counties will also be treated as a unit, which includes the city of Salem.

"Both of these regions include a highly-connected urban area, making it difficult to monitor the disease based solely on the contours of county jurisdictional lines," Brown said. 

The entire tri-county region will remain in Phase 1 for at least 21 days after June 19 before the three counties together will become eligible for Phase 2, Brown continued.


RELATED: Oregon's Union County recommends residents return to Phase I following outbreak


"I know this impacts communities and businesses in Clackamas and Washington counties but, as we reopen our state, we must recognize how interconnected the metro area is," Brown said. “The next few weeks will be difficult, and we will be monitoring the data regularly. We are much better prepared than we were in early March. We have increased PPE, much more widespread testing, and many more contact tracers

“However, if hospitalizations spike too rapidly, if the capacity of our health care system is threatened, we will be forced to revert to stricter rules.

“Our entire ability to reopen and stay open is dependent on whether each of us follows basic health and safety protections. Stay home if you feel sick, wear a face covering, keep six feet of distance, avoid crowds, and wash your hands regularly. We truly are all in this together.”

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 43793

Reported Deaths: 673
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Multnomah9502166
Marion6024109
Washington599178
Umatilla343545
Clackamas326766
Lane246727
Malheur194938
Jackson17967
Deschutes118513
Yamhill101315
Linn84515
Polk66815
Jefferson60710
Morrow5517
Lincoln51813
Union4842
Benton4636
Klamath4223
Douglas3688
Wasco34916
Hood River2841
Columbia2711
Josephine2703
Coos2601
Clatsop2480
Baker1403
Crook1132
Tillamook740
Curry581
Wallowa492
Lake430
Harney350
Sherman200
Grant120
Gilliam110
Wheeler10
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 923648

Reported Deaths: 17559
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles3050707044
Riverside675521306
San Bernardino641311073
Orange594421468
San Diego55898885
Kern34114420
Fresno31195439
Sacramento25882499
Santa Clara24665404
Alameda23636463
San Joaquin21988492
Contra Costa18877243
Stanislaus17814400
Tulare17730291
Ventura14409166
Imperial13023338
San Francisco12277145
Monterey1153892
San Mateo11278159
Santa Barbara9886126
Sonoma9601136
Merced9588155
Kings848683
Solano758676
Marin7107127
Madera506676
Placer429059
San Luis Obispo424032
Yolo325060
Butte313453
Santa Cruz284825
Shasta199931
Napa199816
Sutter188912
San Benito144915
El Dorado13684
Yuba133810
Mendocino115421
Tehama9219
Lassen7711
Lake70216
Glenn6793
Nevada6328
Humboldt56910
Colusa5536
Calaveras34721
Amador33716
Tuolumne2855
Inyo24015
Siskiyou2140
Mono1822
Del Norte1801
Mariposa812
Plumas760
Modoc450
Trinity280
Sierra60
Alpine40
Unassigned00
Medford
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Brookings
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